Karl Aigner, formerly SuSE's account representative for Munich, is overseeing sales of Microsoft's data center products to midsize companies in Germany. He began his new role April 1, Microsoft said Tuesday.
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Munich, which last year, already taught Microsoft that it's not invulnerable--despite Linux's comparative immaturity for use on desktop machines, Microsoft's incumbent status there, a lower price and a personal last-minute visit by Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer. While Munich may not have been Microsoft's Waterloo, it was a serious warning shot across the bow.
Aigner left SuSE in late 2003, said Novell spokesman Bruce Lowry. Novellfor $210 million.
The new hire will be an asset at Microsoft, Governor predicted. "He's obviously a guy who well understands the dynamics of selling to European public sector organizations, and he understands the huge difficulties that the open-source community has had in delivering on the Munich contract," Governor said. "He will make a wonderful figurehead for Microsoft."
Snapping up competitors' employees is a practice with a long history in the technology business. Storage specialist EMC luredin 2003; Microsoft in 2000 hired , a gaming executive from Sega; and Juniper Networks in 2000 recruited Yakov Rekhter from archrival Cisco Systems, where the expert had risen to the status of fellow.
Such moves can trigger lawsuits, however.. Borland in 1997 for hiring away dozens of employees. And SANgate systems in 2001 to keep Chief Executive Doron Kempel, who came from the storage giant.
But more than the usual corporate barriers separate Microsoft and Linux. Top executives have labeled open-source software a "cancer" and "Pac-Man-like," while open-source advocates often treat Microsoft as a.